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International Women’s Day Q&A: Somaieh Salehpour

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Pipelines,

World Pipelines interviews Somaieh Salehpour, Vice President of Technology and Marketing, Seal For Life Industries, about her experience of being a women in the pipeline industry, focusing on her managerial role, pipeline coating projects and overcoming stereotypes.

International Women’s Day Q&A: Somaieh Salehpour

Question: Could you tell me a bit about your current job role and career? Why did you choose to work in the pipeline/energy industry and what has been your experience of being a woman within this field so far?

Answer: In my role as Vice President of Technology and Marketing at Seal For Life Industries, I have the privilege of overseeing our Research and Development, Product Management, and Marketing departments. It's a dynamic position that allows me to spearhead innovation, ensure the delivery of high-quality products, and effectively communicate their value to our customers. My journey into the pipeline and energy industry was a natural progression from my engineering background. I've always been drawn to the blend of technology, innovation, and sustainability that characterises this sector. The opportunity to contribute to vital infrastructure projects that power economies and communities worldwide is incredibly fulfilling.

Being a woman in this field has presented its unique set of challenges, but it's also been a journey filled with growth and support. While there are stereotypes and biases to navigate, I've been fortunate to work in environments that prioritise diversity and inclusivity. Over the years, I've witnessed positive shifts in the industry, with a greater emphasis placed on promoting gender equality and empowering women to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Q: What are some of the challenges facing women in the pipeline/energy industry?

A: In the pipeline and energy industry, women often find themselves facing a multitude of challenges, from navigating through gender bias and stereotypes to encountering limited access to leadership roles and mentorship opportunities. It's like trying to break through a concrete ceiling while balancing on a tightrope!

Despite our undeniable talent and expertise, women are still underrepresented in top-tier leadership positions, making it difficult to find relatable role models and mentors who can guide us along the way. And let's not forget about the less-than-inclusive workplace cultures that can sometimes make us feel like outsiders in our own profession.

But you know what they say – where there are challenges, there are also opportunities! By shaking up the status quo and championing diversity and inclusion initiatives, we can turn these hurdles into springboards for success.

Q: What advice would you give to women interested in a career in this sector?

A: My advice would be to believe in yourself and your abilities. Don't let any perceived barriers or stereotypes deter you from following your passion and pursuing your goals. Seek out mentors and allies who can provide guidance and support along the way. Network actively within the industry and don't be afraid to showcase your skills and expertise. Remember, it's crucial to stay true to yourself – don't feel pressured to conform to any stereotypes or try to emulate a ‘masculine’ persona. Your unique perspective and approach are valuable assets in this field.

Q: Could you tell me about an interesting project you have worked on or a personal achievement in your career?

A: A few years back, I was involved in an exciting project related to pipeline coatings in a very remote area. This was like stepping into a time machine – heavily male-dominated, with women facing some serious hurdles. So, how did I tackle this challenge? Well, I became a master of disguise! Donning men's oversized protective gear was my secret weapon to blend in seamlessly and ensure a smooth operation. It was a cheeky reminder of the outdated barriers women still had to break through to get their due recognition. But hey, I turned those challenges into stepping stones towards a more inclusive industry, we completed the project successfully and by the end of it everyone respected me as a trusted female engineer!

Q: How do you think we can encourage more women to go into the pipeline industry? And why do you think it is important that more women do chose this career path?

A: Encouraging more women to join the pipeline industry involves promoting science and engineering education for girls, showcasing diverse career opportunities, and providing mentorship programmes. It's important for women to choose this career path because diversity brings fresh perspectives and innovation, fosters inclusive workplace cultures, and ensures a skilled workforce to address industry challenges such as sustainability and technological advancements.

Q: Have you noticed any recent changes for women in the field and looking to the future, do you think more will come?

A: Yes, I've noticed recent positive changes for women in the field, with increased efforts towards diversity and inclusion. Looking ahead, I'm optimistic that more women will enter and excel in the pipeline industry as barriers are broken down and inclusive environments are fostered.

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